Sunday, 12 April 2009

Who's Da Man

Dr. Who
Planet Of The Dead

It’s Easter time and David Tennant returns to us as the eponymous Doctor, in what is the first of his final four special appearances as the Time Lord for 2009, until he sadly then passes the mantle over to young pretender Matt Smith.

A cracking episode for sure, that sees him team up with Michelle Ryan, she of the short lived Bionic Woman show. In this highly entertaining episode she gets to flex her acting muscles as a high society cat burglar. Her character is Lady Christina de Souza, a feisty young woman with a strong will and the aptitude to give the Doctor a run for his money. She needs all her wits about her from the start, pulling off the daring theft of a priceless British antiquity from the International Gallery in London. The authorities are soon on her tail as the museums alarm is triggered just as she seeks to make a getaway. She eludes immediate custody by jumping aboard a London red bus, the very same ride that has the Doctor hopping onto for transportation himself. She has a back pack containing the tools of her trade and he has his, a bizarre hand held device that seems to be tracking something otherworldly !?.
With the police in pursuit the bus enters a tunnel, cordoned off at its exit point in order to bring the fleeing Lady de Souza into custody. Before the people carrier can complete its short destination a vortex of crackling light and energy envelopes it, sucking it and all its passengers into a foreboding new environment, a world beyond this one … The Planet Of The Dead !.

Christina and the Doctor , along with five panicked passengers and a very bemused bus driver, find themselves set down in a landscape of sand, and a sky with three suns illuminating the arid vista. One of the passengers has a psychic gift and can sense voices crying out all around, her ability amplified according to the Doctor because of the unusual alignment of the three suns.

Cool and calm in a crisis Christina takes control and rallies everyone together, sensibly designating the Doctor as resident authority on how best to proceed, beyond getting all out of the hot rays beating down upon them. In his usual quirky fashion of relaying in relative layman’s terms how they arrived at such a predicament, the Doctor conveys rhetoric of how he was tracking a tiny hole in the fabric of reality, one that suddenly got big, and the bus drove right through it. A door in space that has only allowed human form through it unscathed, due to the metal casing enshrouding them protectively in the shape of the bus. They cannot themselves step back through the wormhole without being immediately vaporised upon arriving back at their starting destination. It’s one stop too many then for the bus driver who tests the Doctors theory to his unfortunate detriment, slipping back beyond the ‘Star Gate’ like veil and eviscerating to a skeletal form upon re-entry on Earth.

There is only one safe return ticket home and that is to get everyone back aboard the bus and go back the way they came in, within its protective construct. The bus, however, is stuck in the sand and with attempts to dig it out is also soon out of petrol !. The Doctor and Christina explore their barren environment, in search of anything they may be able to use to assist them in their plight. As they seek, they too are being watched !.

The perfectly paired teaming of the two leads them into the clutches of an Alien race of humanoid fly beings. Their space ship has crashed upon the surface perhaps in the same way that the bus has done also. They are not a threat to the Doctor and his companions, and with the aid of the trusted universal translator the Doctor works in conjunction with them towards a combined escape from their situation. The fly creatures have a form of fuel and mechanisation that can assist the humans in getting the bus operational.
Lady Christina again proves her worth in a difficult situation in assisting the impressed Doctor. While the issue of escape is their priority, of far greater concern is a storm outside that is raging towards them, and something is alive within its wake !.

Time is running out for the Time Lord and Lady Christina, and the fly creatures need to get their crap together before the proverbial hit’s the fan. The reason behind this planets abundance of sand is discovered, and the plight that befell this once thriving world is fast approaching the living beings now stranded upon it. A swarming sea of extraterrestrial stingray like flying creatures, encased in a metallic exoskeleton, and bearing their perfectly serrated teeth readied for the feed. This is one school of fish that even the Doctor can’t better educate.

The setting for the show is perfect and the creature effects are terrific to behold, along with the Alien environment that the Doctor finds himself stranded. Michelle Ryan makes for a refreshing foil to David Tennant’s brilliantly assured character. Their on screen chemistry is a successful part of this highly enjoyable outing.

Can the Doctor get the bus working and send everyone home ?. Will Christina become the Doctors new assistant ?. And what does the psychic lady mean by her cryptically foreboding message to the Doctor of what is soon to come !?.
Be sure to catch the show to find out, it’s one of the very best for what has been an exemplary run as the Doctor by the superb David Tennant.

Next Time Dr. Who
The Waters Of Mars
Review: Paul Cooke / Source: BBC TV Broadcast 11/4/09 UK


  1. Me and the Mrs were discussing the future Dr Who and she suggested John Simm would have been the ideal candidate. I thought Eddie Izzard for the eccentricity factor. Though eddie would probably have been more suited to the old wobbly set dr who series before it became all cool.

    I do think it would be cool to have Eve Myles back in it though especially since the long running welsh soap Belonging is coming to a close and she may have a bit of time on her hands.

  2. Oh and just to add that David Tennant has been excellent as you point out and will be a tough act to follow.

  3. Hey Nigel M, great to see you visiting these parts.
    Eddie Izzard would have definitely made for an interesting part. He may well have on occassion played his own assistant as well, depending on what dress code he had for a particular episode. Now that would have been bizarre !. John Simm would make for an old style Film version of the Doctor I think, perhaps like Peter Cushing did for the role but perhaps not quite right for a modern TV audience. Let's see what happens with this new Doctor, definitely aimed at a much younger prime audience.